The Year of the Horse dawns Friday -- but in the hurry to prepare for festivities, Harry Wong and his family forgot to send a care package to his brother in Atlanta.
"He's far from home and doesn't always get to celebrate what's traditional. We wanted something a little different and more modern to make him happy. And we found it," he said, clutching a $50 box of Godiva chocolates sold at South Coast Plaza and other centers that cater to Asian customers. The chocolates are packaged for one of the biggest Asian holidays on the calendar.
Following its successful launch of chocolate mooncakes -- unveiled last fall for the Autumn Moon Festival -- the company continues to target the highly-profitable Asian consumer market with its latest offering, wrapped in gleaming red, adorned with a drawing of legendary Lady Godiva and her galloping horse, the animal now highlighted in the zodiac.
Open the limited-edition collection and you'll find 20 tempting pieces. Their flavors include a crunchy caramel pear ganache, made with a blend of Venezuelan milk chocolate and Santo Domingo dark chocolate, graced with a touch of vanilla, and almond praline mixed in Vanuatu origin chocolate along with sour cherry and a hint of honey. Then there's sweet Dominican Republic white chocolate infused with nutty macadamia cream and fruity pineapple.
Wong selects more traditional gifts such as wine and specialty teas for older relatives, but for the younger set, the Cerritos resident goes for novelty.
"My brother likes to follow trends and this is a new product. It's like something to start a conversation with. He will have fun with it."
For $120, shoppers can get the deluxe edition, filled with 32 pieces, nestled in a red keepsake box and stuffed with surprise flavors hand-selected by Godiva's executive chef chocolatier. Both the regular and large offerings come with a free gift: eight lucky red envelopes printed with the Godiva logo for folks to tuck in the crisp new dollar bills that are given to children and grandchildren during the holiday.
"Nice," Wong adds. "I may have to treat myself."